I first started blogging over 5 years ago. Before then, the only blogging experience I had was writing a few blog posts on my wedding photography website, which mostly just consisted of highlights from each wedding.
So when I started Anxious Lass, my first proper blog, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
Thankfully, I’ve learnt a lot about blogging over the years and despite making a fair few blogging mistakes along the way, have managed to make a career out of it.
And because I don’t want you to make the same blogging mistakes that I did, in this post I’m going to lay out all the things I’ve learnt from them, so you can get a head start.
If you haven’t set up your blog yet, you may want to check out my complete guide to starting a blog
(This post contains affiliate links – click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
Blogging Mistake #1 – Not coming up with a good name
When I first started Anxious Lass, it wasn’t even called that at all. It was called *drumroll* Anxiety Bitch.
Yes, you heard that correctly. Anxiety… Bitch.
Where do I begin with this? Okay firstly, the name made no sense!
Secondly, I couldn’t market it because part of the domain would always get censored.
It took me until I was 3 years in to actually change the name. When I did change it, I started getting contacted by PR companies, I was featured on bigger sites and got invited to be a guest on BBC radio.
All of those things would have never happened with my old name. So make sure you pick an appropriate name from the beginning, something you can stick with and double check it’s available as a domain, as well as all social media using this name checker.
Blogging Mistake #2 Not monetising from the beginning
It took me a couple of years to start monetising my blog. Can you believe that when I first started, I had no idea you could even make money through a blog at all?
I was oblivious.
Then I came across a bloggers income report for the first time and I couldn’t believe how much money someone could make from their blog.
Firstly, I had to switch from using a free blog hosting service, to being self hosted and using WordPress, before I could fully monetise my blog.
Then I immediately installed Google Adsense and started applying to affiliate programs such as Share a Sale but it took a long time to go back through my posts to monetise them.
It would have been so much easier to do it from the very beginning, not to mention I could have covered the costs of running my blog the entire time!
Blogging Mistake #3 – Not having an email list
Back in the beginning, I figured there was no point having an email list yet because I had nothing ‘exclusive’ to send and no products to promote.
This was a big mistake because eventually I DID have a product to promote and due to my email list being new, not a lot of people to promote it to.
My first product didn’t launch very well because of this and I wished that I’d had a way for people to sign up to my email list from the beginning.
I also didn’t utilise the email list I did have very well either.
When Pinterest and Facebook algorithms are as fickle as the weather, I could have been using my email list to keep traffic coming to my blog but I wasn’t.
To avoid this mistake, set up your email list as soon as you start a blog and develop an opt-in incentive to encourage people to sign up.
Here are some ideas of emails you can send to your list regardless of its size:
- Welcome email – Introduce yourself and let your subscribers know how you plan on helping them.
- Tell a relatable story and use what you learned from that experience to teach your subscribers a useful lesson.
- Send a short preview of your new post with a link to read the full post on your blog
- Show your subscribers some behind the scenes of your work.
- Send a roundup of recent posts or resources.
Blogging Mistake #4 – Not optimising blog posts for Search Engines
It’s actually embarrassing how bad my SEO was in the beginning. I used to think as long as I had a keyword like “anxiety” then Google would know I was an anxiety blog and I’d get ranked for that keyword.
I didn’t think about how much competition I’d have for that keyword, or how vague it was.
It’s safe to say my mental health blog didn’t and never will rank on the first page of Google for “anxiety” but it did for keyphrases such as “How To Explain Social Anxiety” and “Songs To Calm Anxiety”.
If you want consistent traffic, SEO should be a priority. It takes a long time to see results but it will pay off.
To get started, you should install an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO.
Every blog post should include your keyphrase in the post title, a few times in the content, in a subheading and in the alt tags of your images. You should also set up your meta description to include your keyphrase.
To get an idea of what keywords and phrases you should be using, try theGoogle keyword planner.
Blogging Mistake #5 – Having a bad blog design
If you stumble across a blog with poor design, does it make you want to stay? Unlikely.
Your content could be amazing but it makes it much easier to stick around and find that out when your blog functions well and looks good.
My first blog design was awful. I used a free blogging platform before I switched to hosting my wordpress blog on Siteground, so I was extremely limited to how much I could customise my site.
A few things you should be doing to ensure your blog is designed for success:
- Install a theme that is both user friendly and mobile responsive. A lot of your readers will be on mobile, so it doesn’t make sense to have a design that only works well on desktop.
- Choose a colour scheme that goes well with your niche and the feel of your blog.
- Use fonts that are easy to read and don’t use backgrounds that make it difficult to read your text.
- Break up your text into smaller sentences and use subheadings to make it easy to digest your content.
Blogging Mistake #6 – Not blogging consistently
Sometimes I’d blog every day for a week, then not blog for months at a time, then wonder why my traffic dipped.
You don’t have to blog every single day but blogging 1-2 times per week is a good consistent amount.
Even if you have periods where you write a ton of posts and periods where you can’t think of anything to write, use the content you write when you’re on a roll and spread it out by scheduling it for future dates.
Blogging Mistake #7 – Publishing a blog post and thinking people will read it
Think your job is done when you hit publish? Wrong.
One of my biggest blogging mistakes, was that I always believed if I wrote a good post that people would find it and read it. They didn’t. All I had was crickets.
It wasn’t until I started actively marketing my blog that people started reading it. It sounds obvious to me now but back then I really didn’t have a clue.
What you could be doing after publishing your post, to get it seen:
- Linking to your post on social media
- Pinning your post to Pinterest
- Scheduling your pin to Tailwind
- Making sure your post is optimised for Search Engines
- Linking to your post on link share posts in Facebook blogging groups
- Sending a summary of your blog post and the link to your email list
- Scheduling your blog post to be re-shared on social media again at a later date.
- Including the link to your latest blog post in your email signature or when you comment on other blogs.
Don’t just hit publish and hope for the best, get you work out there for people to see!
If you are making any of these blogging mistakes, don’t worry, you’ll always be learning something new.
It took me 3 years for my first blog to make any money and get traffic. Once I learnt from my blogging mistakes, I was able to get my blog traffic from 2,000 a month to 36,000 a month in a much shorter space of time.
So keep at it and keep learning!
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